Richard Rohr on the Western ‘Gospel’ of Prosperity and Success

Soul knowledge sends you in the opposite direction from consumerism. It’s not addition that makes one holy, but subtraction: stripping the illusions, letting go of the pretense, exposing the false self, breaking open the heart and the understanding, not taking my private self too seriously. Conversion is more about unlearning than learning.

In a certain sense we are on the utterly wrong track. We are climbing while Jesus is descending, and in that we reflect the pride and the arrogance of Western civilization, usually trying to accomplish, perform, and achieve. This is our real operative religion. Success is holy! We transferred much of that to our version of Christianity and made the Gospel into spiritual consumerism. The ego is still in charge. There is not much room left for God when the false self takes itself and its private self-development that seriously.

All we can really do is get ourselves out of the way, and honestly we can’t even do that. It is done to us through this terrible thing called suffering.

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 46, day 49 (Available through Franciscan Media)

The Daily Meditations for 2013 are now available in Fr. Richard’s new book Yes, And . . . .

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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